Tag Archive: slumdog


 

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Hey, did, did someone correctly predict four out of five in the major categories?  (And I said I could see Penelope winning, scroll down.)  Maybe I should think about a career in the movie industry?  No, this year was fairly predictable if you’ve been following awards season.  Anyway, quick thoughts on the show in no particular order…

Thought the change in format was excellent.  Don’t know if you can do this every year, but it was great to be different.

Hugh Jackman’s opening was a nice way to set the mood, but I was hoping they wouldn’t overdo the ‘musical’ thing.  Uh oh…

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but Man on Wire is a really enjoyable documentary if you haven’t seen it.  Don’t let the quirky French cat who balanced the Oscar on his face turn you off to it if you haven’t seen it.

Five past winners welcoming the ‘new kid’ into the club?  Brilliant.  That can stay.

How the hell did they convince Jerry Lewis to keep it short?

The first musical number was the first thing to pull me out of the show.  But Beyonce showing off that thickness in the red piece?  As a great man once said, “Great googly moogly.”

Let’s get these out of the way with one train of thought:  Right as I was daydreaming about how smooth and natural Alicia Keys-Aziz sounds, my ‘Best Man’ had to text me to tell me she was wearing too much makeup.  I don’t know why but they cracked me up.

But in case there was any doubt about who is still the Sexiest and Most Beautiful Black Woman on the Planet, Halle Berry had to show up and remind the young’uns she ain’t giving up her crown anytime soon.

Alright, now back to the show…

I’m a fan of Queen Latifah, but I was a little irritated they had to sing through the In Memoriam part of the show.  Sydney Pollack was a guest in one of my classes once; incredibly down to earth for a guy of his stature.  And Paul Newman, man.  As Dragline said in Cool Hand Luke, “You, my friend, are an original.” 

You probably know I’m a sports fan, which means you probably know I’m a little superstitious.  I was genuinely worried I was bringing bad karma onto Heath for pouting about The Dark Knight not being nominated more in my predictions column.  I was going to watch the film before the show, but held off.  I was more than ready to toss over every piece of furniture in the house if I heard any other name announced.  So to say I was relieved was an understatment.  A year ago, if you would have told me that any non special effects aspect of a Batman film was a lock for an Academy Award, I would have gladly taken it.  Perspective people.  One last time, thank you Heath.

Happy to see Kate Winslet join the club finally.

I got love for Mickey Rourke, but I was delighted to see Sean Penn ‘officially’ hit Icon status with another Academy Award.  Loved the fact DeNiro was up there too; those are the kind of things I geek out over no matter how old I get.

What else needs to be said about Slumdog Millionaire?  However you want to define the term, it really was ‘The Movie of the Year.’

 

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Best Picture

 

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Here are the nominees for Best Picture of the Year…

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Frost/Nixon
  • Milk
  • The Reader
  • Slumdog Millionaire

What could happen:  Somebody could look at me with a straight face and tell me how The Dark Knight wasn’t one of the five best films to come out in the past 12 months!  OK, now that I got that off my chest, let’s look at what else could happen.  The Reader and Frost/Nixon; anchored by Academy Award nominated performances, but no real chance of winning the Big One.  Milk?  I loved Penn’s performance and thought the movie was well made overall.  Does the Academy still have guilt over picking Crash over Brokeback Mountain a few years back?  Wait, let me rephrase that, does the Academy have guilt for picking Crash over Brokeback Mountain a few years back?  Honestly don’t know the answer to that one.  Benjamin Button?  I’m not the first one to mention this, but from behind the scenes credits to character archetypes to love/hate relationship, this movie shares a lot in common with Forrest Gump.  But unless I’m mistaken, Forrest Gump kicked Pulp Fiction to the curb, so it wouldn’t be the first time this type of movie won out.  The counter to that argument though, is that an even bigger crowd pleaser has been the front runner throughout awards season, Slumdog Millionaire.

What should happen:  If I had a vote, it’d be going to either Milk or Slumdog.  Film geek that I am, my first question is always, ‘Which picture will still be as watchable in five years, if not longer?’  Since The Dark Knight isn’t nominated (OK, OK, I’m sorry about that.  I’m really done this time) that knocked out the other three films nominated for me personally. The (very good) problem is, I think I could make case for either of the two films left.  For an ‘outsider’ like myself, Milk was both an entertaining and informative introduction to the life of Harvey Milk and a snapshot of the fight for gay rights in California in the 70s (which also turned out to be extremely timely for those of us who watch this play out in the Golden State today).  At the time I saw Slumdog, it was one of those ‘word of mouth’ films that I heard so many good things about I was positive it couldn’t be that good.  When I came out of the theater, the first film that I thought it reminded me of was Singin In the Rain.   Like my favorite musical, it was just one of those simple stories told so well that I was aware almost from frame one how much I was just enjoying myself watching the story play out.  I have no idea how many thousands of movies I’ve watched at this point, but that is beyond rare for me personally.

Who I’m cheering for:  This has been a little bit of a weird season watching who wins what award from what group, but it will be a mild surprise if Slumdog doesn’t complete its frontrunner status and take home Best Picture. 

Well, I guess you know what I’ll be watching Sunday night…

My Golden Globe Pics

 

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Alright gang, the Globes is this weekend, and as you can probably guess, I’ve seen almost every nominated film and performance.  Here are my picks for the film categories:

Best Performance by an Actress in a Comedy or Musical

I could make a case for Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia (the biggest hit) or Emma Thompson in Last Chance Harvey  (solid as always), but I’m going with Frances McDormand in Burn After Reading.  With Clooney, Pitt, and Malkovich all hamming it up, McDormand brought the comedy more through mannerisms and behavior than over the top theatrics.  Well played.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Comedy or Musical

Not even his best work this year in my opinion, but I’m going with James Franco in Pineapple Express.  I’ve said this before, but at a pretty young age he’s shown a) range, b) he takes his craft seriously, and c) no real love affair with being a ‘celebrity.’  My kind of actor.

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

If this were the People’s Choice Awards I’d easily choose Mamma Mia, but instead I’m taking Burn After Reading.  A tightly written genre piece by the Coen brothers, that’s pedigree enough without the all star cast. 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

At this point, we know Penelope Cruz can be more than a pretty face.  Doubt is a good movie, but I keep hearing it’s better on the stage where it originated.  Call me biased, but I say Kate Winslet for the Reader.  With all due respect to the other four actresses in this category (and I admire and respect all of them, they were great), I feel with some rewriting Kate Winslet could play the characters that they’re nominated for.  But watch the Reader, no one else on this list could play that role but Winslet.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

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I think you and I are destined to do this forever.  (sigh…)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

Jolie, Streep, Winslet…there are some heavyweights in this category.  I’d cast my vote for Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married.  She’s been around so I don’t want to use the word ‘breakthrough’, but she definitely wasn’t playing the glamour girl in this role.  The Globes are more of the ‘feel good’ awards, and the timing would be perfect.  Speaking of feel good…

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

Frank Langella is my dark horse here for Frost/Nixon, and in my opinion, Sean Penn as Harvey Milk was the best performance of the year.  But this is a ‘who I think will win’ column, and all signs point to Mickey Rourke for the Wrestler.  I didn’t bring as much of his past into the theatre with me as most people, but I still thought it was a great performance.  Now I’m hearing he’ll co-star in Iron Man 2.  Got to love Hollywood…

Best Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Motion Picture – Drama

If you want to see a fun, politics free, well crafted movie, Slumdog Millionaire is the way to go.  Written by Simon Beaufoy and directed by Danny Boyle, Slumdog is way, WAY lighter than its competition (Frost/Nixon, Benjamin Button, Reader, Revolutionary Road).  And the way things are in the real world right now, that lightness is the perfect tonic.

 

 

 

 

Slumdog Millionaire

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Danny Boyle’s latest is about a young Muslim kid named Jamal Malik.  Needless to say, I really liked this movie.  What, you want to know what it’s about?  Sigh…

This is really a movie you need to see to fully appreciate how it’s done, but Slumdog Millionaire frames a large part of its story around one of the biggest fads of recent memory, the game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?  Even within the context of a fictional story, it was amusing to be reminded of why this show was such a huge smash hit, and how the show’s use of dramatic tension fits so perfectly into a piece of cinematic storytelling. 

One of the other great pop culture pieces this movie uses is the story of the Three Musketeers.  I’ve been part of a few ‘trios’ in my own lifetime, and could tell you certain key elements of the Three Musketeers story, but not all of them.  There must be a lot of people like me, because Slumdog Millionaire plays this knowledge to full effect. 

All in all, PROPS from me for a good crowd pleasing movie that doesn’t get too Hollywood (or is it Bollywood?) until the very end.